Mellencamp's previous hits, notably "Hurts So Good
" and "Jack & Diane
," took him a long time to write. "Pink Houses" was different, and marked a creative breakthrough.
"I started writing every day and painting and drawing, and I found myself open to suggestion," he said in his Plain Spoken
DVD. "I wrote a song called 'Pink Houses' that came very quickly. I wasn't thinking about it - I saw something a couple of days before, and I just more-less reported on it, and it came out to be 'Pink Houses.' True art is always a surprise. It's not constructed. If it doesn't surprise the person that's writing it, it's not going to surprise the person that's listening."